Have you heard the news? Cap and Trade, the cliche for the bill that would clean up the environment, establish long-term energy goals and regulations, is actually HR 2454. This bill, which has not yet been acted on by the Senate, has been the subject of numerous articles, blogs and emails indicating that if passed it would require all homeowners who wish to sell their home to undergo audits, make repairs, and spend potentially thousands of dollars….just for permission to sell the home.
Here’s the straight scoop, direct from NAR.
• Does not create a federal energy audit requirement for real property;
• Exempts existing homes and buildings from any federal guidelines for new construction energy labeling.
• Leaves the decision to state government whether to pass a law and label, but specifically prohibits any labeling during a sales transaction.
• Prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon emissions from residential and commercial buildings under the Clean Air Act;
• No longer includes provisions to bolster a private right of action under the Clean Air Act that would have allowed citizens to halt construction over minor risks – whether real or imagined;
• Offers property owners with matching grants and diagnostic tools to make property improvements that saves energy; and
• Provides green building financial incentives for HUD housing, including a loans, block grants and credit in underwriting for energy improvements.
NAR takes a position on legislation, or provisions within legislation, that have a direct affect on real estate. Working with our Congressional allies, NAR stripped the Energy Bill of provisions that would have adversely affected our industry. At the direction of the NAR Board of Directors and Land Use, Property Rights and Environment Committee and the Climate Change Presidential Advisory Group, NAR concentrated on the real estate provisions in the bill. NAR was successful in getting harmful federal energy audit requirements and point-of sale triggers dropped from the bill.
• Exempts existing homes, multifamily and commercial buildings from any federal energy labeling guidelines such as the existing federal Energy Star label program (section 204(m)), and
• Leaves the decision entirely to state governments whether to pass a law to require labels, but expressly prohibits labeling during a transaction (Section 204(h)).
The bill does not create a federal energy audit or labeling requirement. As introduced, the original bill would have required energy audits and labeling at the time of sale. However, Realtors succeeded in making many positive changes before the bill passed. Many published reports are not based on the version of the bill that was considered by the House. As approved, the bill:
The bill would create a national building code standard that improves upon building energy efficiency. States would be given 1 year to bring their state codes into compliance with the new national standards. If a state fails to do so, the federal government would set and enforce the state’s energy codes.